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Cooking vegetables in the Italian manner

The Italian way of cooking vegetables adds a new character to familiar foods with the use of spices, and herbs in "Vegetables the Italian Way" by Teresa Gilardi Candler, (McGraw-Hill, $12.95).

Many vegetables are blended with cheeses, light sauces, or with rice or pasta to create the marvelous variety of timballi, crostate, and tortine.

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Even at breakfast, when tomatoes are in season, it is not unusual for Italians to serve a ripe tomato sliced, sprinkled with oil, salt, and pepper, the author says. She adds other ideas for serving.

I found the desserts and breads most interesting. There are recipes for Fennel Cake, Carrot Ice Cream Squares, Pumpkin Cake, Artichoke Bread, and Onion and Cheese Bread. Butternut Squash Squares (Dolcetti di zucca) 4 tablespoons sweet butter or margarine 1 cup brown sugar 3 eggs 3 cups cooked, mashed butternut squash 2 1/2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cloves 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 1/2 cups seedless raisins 1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

Combine 3 tablespoons butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream well with an electric mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each addition.

Stir in squash and beat for 1 minute. Combine flour with baking powder, salt , and spices and mix well. Add to squash and mix for 3 minutes. Stir in raisins and almonds.

Pour batter into a well-buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool in pan or wire rack. Cut into squares before serving. Make 15 squares.

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